Bootstrapped startup teams looking for a professional working environment often prefer coworking spaces over alternatives like working from home or renting an independent office space. One of the primary reasons is because coworking spaces provide a professional space without the high costs that go with finding your own office. Not just that, coworking spaces help in bringing you in touch with like-minded individuals and teams working on other projects and is thus a wonderful melting pot of different ideas and experiments.
But coworking spaces can also be incredibly distracting. According to Sam Altman, the President of the popular tech incubator Y Combinator, coworking spaces can be hugely distracting and it is difficult to get the company culture right in such surroundings. What this also means is a terrific loss of productivity. When your work routine is interrupted by discussions that are not in consonance with your own thought process, it can greatly protract the time taken to complete tasks, which in turn, negate all the other positives that working in a shared office space brings.
However, if distraction is the only con at a coworking space, then it makes more sense addressing this issue rather than opting out of coworking. Fortunately, there are several ways to increase productivity without compromising on the other advantages of working alongside like-minded entrepreneurs and freelancers. According to one study, nine out of ten workers perform better when listening to music. However, this also depends on the kind of music you listen to. Studies have shown that classical music (including the ones you find in musicals) are best suited for analytical work while dance music works best for work involving proofreading and problem solving.
Another way to increase productivity is by dividing your daily work schedule into short chunks ranging from 30 minutes to an hour and setting short-term deadlines for each of these periods. A study conducted by the MIT’s Sloan School of Management found that such short-term deadlines help maintain focus on a task, leverage the power of momentum and thus leads to higher-quality work. This also means that with such short-term deadlines, workers in a coworking space are less likely to get distracted from the neighborhood noise and are more likely to maintain high focus.
Finally, not all coworking space distractions are external. Some are also manifestations of your own internal lack of focus. A worker who is not focused on the task at hand is more likely to give in to external distractions compared to the one who is focused. In other words, when you reduce the scope of internal distractions, you also make it possible to keep a noisy work space from disturbing you. One of the quickest ways to achieving internal focus is by streamlining your tasks and avoiding multitasking. Studies have shown that multitasking at work can bring down productivity by as much as 40 percent. By setting aside dedicated time slots for checking email and support requests and focusing on one task at a time, workers can ensure better internal focus which in turn reduces scope for distractions from external factors in a coworking space.